Caleb, Michelle, and I were in the middle of our 16 mile run this morning when the subject of double workouts came up. Michelle shared that she had a tempo scheduled for this afternoon. This was probably a bad move on her part because almost immediately, Caleb and I jumped in with our opinions.
Driving home the thought occurred to me that this would be a great topic for my post today.
First, please don’t take away that I am against double workouts for runners. These types of workouts definitely have their place in our training plans.
However, Michelle's situation today in my opinion put her at a greater risk of injury.
Michelle was to run a second tempo workout during the afternoon today. Therefore, I am assuming that she was expecting to have an easy run this morning.
However, the three of us were not running all that easily. Our average pace was between 6:40 to 6:50 over the second half of the Thunder Road Marathon course. For those not familiar, the Thunder Road course is definitely not flat. The second half has more its fair share of rolling hills.
Thus, instead of logging a few easy miles and then a tempo in the afternoon, Michelle was literally doing two very intense workouts with in a short period of time.
The first one was a long sustained effort, and then a second one which was expected to be shorter more intense effort.
In my opinion, this sets up a perfect scenario for an injury to occur. Running 17 miles under these conditions will leave her tired and probably a little muscular “tight” by the afternoon. Attempting a hard tempo run will really pull on those tried tight muscles. This leaves her muscles very susceptible to a “pull” like a hamstring “pull”. She would then be sidelined for months while her injury recovers.
Running double workouts can be good for a runner, but they need to make sense.
Run hard in the morning, and then have a shakeout run in the afternoon. This is ideal. This helps work out the soreness that might be occurring and flushes lots of blood to those recovering muscles. Another option is to get in some “easy” miles in the morning, and then make the afternoon workout hard. Yes, the legs will be a little more tired than usual. Running with tired legs isn’t a bad thing. This helps with the mental training as much as the physical training. The key here is the amount of miles put on the legs and the level of fatique. Thus, keeping fatique in check is very important.
Please note I am talking about training workouts only. Multiple races in the same day or relay races fall in to a completely different category.
I will leave you with the parting thought – “Train hard but smart”. Remember your goal is be at the starting line of your race and not standing on the sideline watching it.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner